At the 12th Annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council will bestow our highest honors upon key leaders, companies, and firms who have made exceptional contributions to diversity and inclusion in the media and telecom industries.

Don’t miss it – online registration closes TODAY, July 25th, at 6:00!

*The entire image below links to MMTC’s conference website. Click here for a PDF version.

MMTC 2014 Conference Eblast - All Awards w Detailed Agenda

Washington, D.C. (July 24, 2014): The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) applauds the Federal Communications Commission’s progress to remove barriers to participation in waiving regulations that discourage small business participation in wireless spectrum auctions in support of the FCC’s Order on Grain Management’s Request for Clarification or Waiver of Section 1.2110(b)(3)(iv)(A) of the Commission’s Rules – an open proceeding that was subject to notice and comment.

This week, the FCC voted to approve a qualified small business (Designated Entity, or DE) waiver of the Attributable Material Relationship (AMR) rule for the upcoming AWS-3 and other auctions. The rule, last considered in 2006, limits small businesses’ ability to lease spectrum to other businesses – even if the spectrum was not acquired through the Designated Entity program.

For the past four years, MMTC, along with a broad coalition of civil rights and small business advocacy groups, has urged the FCC to eliminate the AMR rule in its entirety because it impedes a DE’s ability to create flexible business plans and access the capital necessary to participate in FCC spectrum auctions. With zero Designated Entity participation in the FCC’s recent sale of H-Block licenses, MMTC lauds the Commission for its decision to grant a very timely waiver to Grain Communications and similarly situated companies.

“On Wednesday, the Commission took a step in the right direction by enabling greater, near-term participation by small businesses in the upcoming AWS-3 auction and in the secondary markets,” stated David Honig, MMTC President. “The communications marketplace has changed profoundly, and we hope to see the AMR rule revisited as the Commission undertakes a more formal review of the overall DE program in its upcoming proceeding.”

In line with Congress’s mandate to advance small business participation in wireless auctions, the FCC’s decision to engage Designated Entities in November’s AWS-3 auction will increase their participation in wireless spectrum ownership.

“Fostering competition, economic development, and services should be a critical focus of the nation,” stated Cliff Stearns, former Member of Congress (R-FL) and Co-Chair of MMTC’s New Internet and Telecom Policy Task Force. “The Designated Entity program can significantly support new entrants to this marketplace, as well as smaller incumbents whose needs for access to capital are more pronounced than their competitors’.”

Criticism of the program by some FCC and congressional leaders is unfortunate. Like others, MMTC provided input on the clarification of the AMR Rule during the public comment and reply periods that closed in April of this year. MMTC asked that the AMR rule be waived for all DEs or reviewed on a case-by-case basis. MMTC also urged the FCC to allow firms to retain their status as Designated Entities when entering into lease, resale, or wholesale agreements – one of the major regulatory impediments facing small businesses.

“As an association that represents a range of tech entrepreneurs and small businesses, we look forward to the FCC’s DE proceeding to better understand how to engage more of our members, especially as wireless becomes the new broadcasting,” stated Dr. Nsenga Burton, Executive Director of the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs (NAMDE). “The DE issue has become very important to us as wireless has become the communications lifeline for many communities.”

MMTC is hopeful that Congress will continue to support the FCC’s efforts to promote the innovation economy, and foster small business participation in commercial wireless – one of the nation’s most influential and important industries.

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About MMTC:

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) is a non-partisan, national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media, telecommunications and broadband industries, and closing the digital divide. MMTC is generally recognized as the nation’s leading advocate for minority advancement in communications.

The FCC‘s Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) will host a Supplier Diversity Conference and Workshop focusing on private sector business opportunities for small, minority, and women-owned businesses. This important event will be held at the FCC Headquarters, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, from 10:30 am until 4:30 pm in the Commission Meeting Room.

OCBO has invited representatives from private industry, specifically telecommunications and technology firms from across the country to discuss their organizations’ contracting procedures and provide insight on how small businesses should navigate the procurement process generally.

*The entire image below links to the FCC’s conference website. Click here for a PDF version.  [click to continue…]

The racial wealth gap continues to impede our nation’s ability to remain a true leader and innovator on the world stage. The wealth ratio is 20:1 between African-Americans and whites, and 18:1 between Hispanics and whites. Join us July 29th as leaders in government and industry discuss the policies and societal issues that continue to impact this disparity, as well as solutions to bridging the wealth gap.

*The entire image below links to MMTC’s conference website. Click here for a PDF version. [click to continue…]

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council presents its Investors Forum: “Creative Capital and the Latest Developments in Angel Investing, Venture Capital, Crowdfunding, Vendor Financing, and Audience Aggregation” on Day 2 of its 12th Annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference!

Are you an entrepreneur looking for investment capital to start or expand your business? Join industry representatives and experts as they discuss where investors are putting their money, what’s driving M&A activity, and where the opportunities are for MWBEs who seek to step up their game, or get in the game! [click to continue…]

Child Hand ComputerWASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2014): Last week, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve reforms to the nation’s E-rate program with subsidies now going toward Wi-fi connectivity to ensure broadband access in schools. The Order also addressed the concerns around the current funding formulas for schools and libraries with Chairman Wheeler vowing to review and re-evaluate these thresholds to ensure their accuracy.

MMTC and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition have worked collaboratively on issues that affect the nation’s schools, particularly those institutions that disproportionately serve students of color, and poor and urban populations. Friday’s vote to proceed with significant reforms to a program that has the ability to narrow the resource gaps that exist between poor and wealthy schools is a positive step toward addressing pressing achievement divides. MMTC and Rainbow PUSH applaud the Commission’s increase in the per-square-foot funding for libraries that will particularly benefit smaller, urban libraries. [click to continue…]

MMTC’s 12th Annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference attracts some of the biggest names in media, telecom, government, business, and investing.  At this year’s Awards Reception at the close of Day 1, “Celebrating Diverse Media Superstars,” we are pleased to add some of the biggest leaders in the entertainment industry to that list!

Join BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee, Radio One President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-KS), FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Former FCC Commissioner Tyrone Brown, and more as we present our highest honors to those who have made exceptional contributions to diversity and inclusion in the media and telecom industries.  MMTC will also pay a special tribute to renowned venture capitalist and entrepreneur, the late Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr.

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On July 7th, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council and Rainbow PUSH Coalition filed a letter with the Federal Communications Commission, urging the agency to amend its E-rate program to improve support for schools and libraries in urban and low-income areas, which is currently limited by restrictions based on square-footage and per-student funding caps.

African American Computer StudentsDear Chairman Wheeler:

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (collectively “MMTC et al.”) respectfully urge the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to avoid providing E-rate support for libraries in urban and low-income areas based on their square footage, and avoid penalizing urban and low-income schools that have lower enrollment than larger, more affluent suburban campuses by imposing across-the-board per-student funding caps. MMTC et al. have previously expressed their conviction that the FCC should make equitable access to E-rate funds for low-income schools a priority in its policy-making,[1] noting that the E-rate program “was specifically designed to target poor schools and rural schools.”[2]

The cost of providing internal broadband connectivity is a function of both building size and the number of users, as well as other factors such as architectural impediments and interference from nearby networks. The FCC should therefore resist the temptation to adopt a flawed and overly simplistic metric for allocating E-rate funds that will arbitrarily deprive urban and low-income students and library patrons of access to high speed, high capacity broadband. [click to continue…]

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) will kick off our 12th Annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference, “Spotlight on Opportunity, Innovation, and Inclusion in the New Digital Ecosystem,” by bringing together six current members of Congress, two former members of Congress, and a state representative to discuss access to capital, STEM, and How Telecom Policies Stimulate or Stifle MWBE Opportunity.



Congressional and Legislative Luncheon

Looking Back and Looking Forward:

How Telecom Policies Stimulate or Stifle MWBE Opportunity

July 28, 2014, 12:00 pm – 1:45 pm


Hon. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Member, U.S. House of Representatives

Hon. John Conyers (D-MI), Member, U.S. House of Representatives

Hilary Shelton, Director, Washington Bureau, NAACP

Hon. Clifford Stearns, Congressman Emeritus (R-FL), Co-Chair, New Telecom and Internet Policy Taskforce

Hon. Edolphus Towns, Congressman Emeritus (D-NY), Co-Chair, Telecom and Internet Policy Taskforce

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On July 28th and 29th, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council presents its 12th annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference, “Spotlight on Opportunity, Innovation, and Inclusion in the New Digital Ecosystem.” The conference will convene hundreds of media and telecom industry experts, policymakers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors to highlight the most far-reaching issues affecting multicultural entrepreneurs and underserved communities.


FCC Commissioners’ Breakfast Highlights

FCC and White House officials discuss opportunities and barriers in telehealth, super fast broadband, the Internet of things, and technology adoption in underserved communities: [click to continue…]